Aveda Institute Columbus

After growing my hair out for months to achieve that long, 70s blowout look for “Lost in Time,” I was more than ready to get some of the unruly mess on my head tamed. My eyebrows were also in dire need of some maintenance. That had nothing to do with the show, I’d just gotten lazy.

A few months ago, I was driving down Bethel Road and noticed that where an old grocery store once stood, there was now a brand new sign touting The Aveda Institute. There used to be an Aveda Institute on High Street by Ohio State’s campus, and it was a lifesaver for me when I was a student. All of the services at The Aveda Institute are performed by students, so the prices are dirt cheap. I was giddy to see that there was now one so close to where I live!

After the show closed and I was free to do something about the mop on my head, I scheduled an appointment for a brow wax and a hair cut.

The main lobby area is set up much like any other salon. Rows of Aveda products line the walls, and calming spa tones welcome you in. After you check in, things start to change a bit from the traditional salon experience.

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The main area is lined with a huge amount of stations, where students perform their work. There’s also an additional check in desk (to the left in the photo above), where they have you sign a waiver stating that you understand that all services are performed by supervised students, not fully-licensed professionals.

My brow wax was first, so I was led back to the spa area.

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The spa waiting area is quite tranquil, with soft lighting and calming music playing. There’s water available if you want it. I didn’t have to wait long at all before my student esthetician greeted me and led me back to a room.

The room I was in was quite clinical, and looked a bit more like a doctor’s exam room than a spa. I’m assuming they save the nicer spa rooms for more expensive services!

My student esthetician did an excellent job on my brows. It took significantly longer than the brow waxes I’m now used to from professionals, but I appreciated her care and attention to detail. After she was finished, she went and got her instructor to double-check her work and sign off that the service had been completed, which happens with every service at The Aveda Institute.

Next was my hair cut. I was led back to the main area, where I was quickly greeted by my student stylist. We had a quick consultation, and she brought over an instructor to explain what I wanted and what she planned to do. The instructor signed off on the plan, and then it was time to get my hair washed – my favorite part of any salon trip!

One of my favorite parts of the whole experience was the fact that there are actual massage tables connected to the sinks, so you can lie down comfortably while your hair is washed. In my opinion, this is much better than leaning awkwardly back in a chair!

My cut was simple – I just wanted about four inches taken off of the total length and to have some layers refreshed. The student stylist, again, worked relatively slowly, but as she gains more experience and confidence, I’m sure she’ll pick up speed. The instructor was called over again to check her work, and this time had a few corrections. She very kindly pointed out to the student the areas that needed a bit more attention, then corrected the cut herself. I could tell that it was a caring learning environment, and at the end of it all, I still ended up with the haircut I wanted!

The student dried and styled my hair, the instructor provided one final check, and then I was on my way to check out.

Here’s where it gets good.

The total for my brow wax and hair cut came to $20.75.

Normally, I’d be paying upwards of $90 for the same services at a professional salon. Sure, it took a bit longer and the experience had a different overall feel, but you simply cannot beat that price, and I ended up with great results.

Here’s my before and after:

If you’re on a budget, you can’t beat The Aveda Institute’s pricing. However, if you’re in a time crunch or really dig the full, relaxing salon experience, I’d stick to a traditional salon. You’ll also likely never get the same stylist at The Aveda Institute, as all of the services are performed by students fulfilling practicum requirements, and they’ll rotate out of the program. Personally, I know I’ll be going back to the Aveda Institute any time money is tight but I want to look my best!

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